Who can resist?

Roasted Vegan Chicken, Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

For the salad:
• 200g fresh beetroot (diced)
• 200g quinoa
• 150g vegan chicken
• 4 medium sweet potatoes (diced)
• 1 small butternut squash (diced)
• 200g cherry tomatoes (halved)
• 4 red onions (sliced into wedges)
• 3 celery sticks (chopped)
• 2 avocados (sliced)
• Handful of spinach
• Handful of walnuts
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 litre vegetable stock

For the dressing:
• 1 garlic clove (crushed)
• 1 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp clear honey

Words by:
Ian Eassom
Featured in:
May 2022

Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…

Resistance bands are such a simple piece of equipment and great to add to your workout, but did you know they can also be used as a complete workout in themselves? Working on resistance and tension, bands will tone and build muscle, a strong core and help burn excess fat too. They are also great for improving mobility, as you’re not sat at a machine or limited by a heavy weight, giving you more freedom to move and work other body parts at the same time.

Another thing I particularly love about resistance bands is that they fit in my pocket and are great for when I’m on the go or away on holiday and need to travel light.

There are so many different types of resistance bands to choose from; simple ones in various strengths of resistance, right up to detachable ones with handles for easy gripping. You don’t need to spend a fortune and most of them have an exercise chart and a guide on how to use them correctly.

To give you more variation, I have five exercises which you can follow to give yourself a full body workout.

Lunge and Twist
Placing the band around your hands, stretch them outwards in front of you, about shoulder width apart. Step forward with your right foot lowering your body into a basic lunge position, then twist your upper body from the midsection to the right while keeping that tension on the bands. Squeeze your glutes, while being careful not to twist or rotate the knees, then go back to that middle position, before stepping back into the starting position. Repeat this several times before going on to the other side.

Standing Chest Fly
This is a great one for the chest, shoulders and arms. The bands can be wrapped around a door handle, post or better still, a nice wide tree trunk out in the fresh air!

Facing outwards with your hands in the band, align your shoulders, bringing your arms inwards in front of you at chest height. Focus on keeping your core nice and straight, before returning to the starting position. Control the return movement of your arms; don’t let the bands pull you back sharply. You’ll feel this on your chest, shoulders and biceps too.

Standing Reverse Fly
Still with the band wrapped around a secure point, this time facing inwards, start with your arms in front of you, pulling the bands outwards until they are the same distance away from the chest, stretching your chest and squeezing your upper back muscles, shoulders, rear deltoids and triceps.

Crab Squats
Put both feet inside one or two bands, at lower leg height. To the casual observer, it might look like you’re having underwear issues, but ignore that! Go into a half squat, then walk sideways, keeping desired tension on the bands. Take six steps to the left and then six steps to be right, keeping your feet apart.

Controlled Roll-ups
Not forgetting the core, try this one to finish. I like this one, as it gives you a reverse curl on your way down, which is good for strengthening the back, as well as the ab muscles. Sit on the floor with the resistant bands around your feet and both hands holding them firmly. Roll your spine down slowly, towards your feet, working out that tension, before slowly returning back to the seated position, while still keeping that tension on the bands. You can do between 1 to 6 sets of 6-12 reps, altering the tension, speed and range of motion depending on your strength and fitness level. It’s important you don’t rush these exercises; speed and correct technique are equally important to get the best results.

Time to hang up the bands now, and get some tasty, protein-rich food inside you!

Pop the beetroot, butternut squash, celery, sweet potato, red onion and tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Season and baste in olive oil before roasting in a hot oven set at around 200°C for 30 mins.

Cook the quinoa with some stock in a pan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins. Drain and return to the pan, off the heat. When the vegetables are roasted, stir in the remaining vegetables and the walnuts into the quinoa.

Follow the cooking instructions for the vegan chicken, so that it will be ready to add to the salad later.

To make the dressing, mix the lemon juice, oil, honey, crushed garlic and seasoning together.

Serve the vegetables on top of a serving of the quinoa, followed by the hot vegan chicken and serve immediately, pouring the dressing over the top with some fresh chopped coriander. You can also serve this cold if you prefer, by simply covering and popping it in the fridge once it has cooled.

That’s it for this month folks, and here’s a cheerful thought: next month will be the first summer article! I’ll look forward to seeing you (and hopefully the sun) then!

Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Ian can also offer individual training sessions in your own garden or public space, subject to and in adherence with the latest Covid guidance. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information, visit www.ianeassom.co.uk

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